Sexual practices of deaf and hearing secondary school students in Ibadan, Nigeria
Background: Adolescents and young people with disabilities generally face various forms of discrimination. Inspite of this, they have to deal with similar reproductive health issues encountered by their abled peers. This situation is made worse by misconceptions that they are not sexually active.
Objective: The objective was to compare the sexual practices of the hearing impaired students with their non-hearing impaired counterparts.
Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted. All consenting deaf students and an equal number of hearing students attending a half way school in Ibadan participated. Four of the hearing students did not complete the survey and their responses were excluded from the final analysis.
Results: A total of 78 deaf students and 74 hearing students with mean ages of 17.1 (S.D. ± 3.0) and 15.8 (S.D. ± 1.9) years respectively participated. Twenty-six (33.3%) deaf and 36 (48.6%) hearing
students had ever had sexual intercourse (p = 0.055). Median ages at sexual debut were 16 and 14 years for the deaf and hearing students respectively. The number of sexual partners ever had ranged from 1 to 8 among the deaf and 1 to 6 among the hearing students. Four (15.4%) deaf and 23 (63.9%) hearing students reported that they used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.
Conclusion: The study revealed that hearing-impaired students like their hearing counterparts were sexually active however deaf students were more likely to engage in unsafe sex. There is therefore a pressing need for comprehensive sexuality education for deaf students in the study area.
Keywords: Sexual practices, deaf and hearing students, Ibadan
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